Divine Mercy Sunday
There is one more refuge God has provided for his people: Divine Mercy Sunday, which is today (the second Sunday after Easter):
I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. —Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Faustina, n. 699
This means that not only are all our sins forgiven, but all purification that would be necessary in Purgatory is completely remitted. Remember, the first of all commandments:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)
Simply put, the extent to which we still don’t love God with all our being, even though our sins may be forgiven, is the extent to which we have yet to be purified. We were made for Love! Purgatory, then, is not a “second chance” as some falsely assume, but the final stage of purification God provides out of His mercy to those in a “state of grace” in order to prepare them for the encounter with Pure Love in Heaven. On Divine Mercy Sunday, as a gift merited by Christ on the Cross, Jesus offers to “satisfy” these demands of divine justice for those who “will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion” on this day. This is what the Church has traditionally called a “plenary indulgence.” Here are the normal conditions to receive this through the Church, since the authority to “forgive” and “retain” sins was granted to the Church by Our Lord himself (cf. John 20:22-23):
…a plenary indulgence [will be] granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honour of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. “Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!”) —Apostolic Penitentiary Decree, Indulgences attached to devotions in honour of Divine Mercy; Archbishop Luigi De Magistris, Tit. Archbishop of Nova Major Pro-Penitentiary
Moreover, Jesus promises more: “a whole ocean of graces.” Since only one drop of the Blood and Water which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus is enough to save the world… who can calculate or measure what a whole ocean of graces would grant the soul? In other words, we would be foolish not to take advantage of the blessings of this day. All that is required is meeting the necessary conditions with a heart of faith.
The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is—trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive. Souls that trust boundlessly are a great comfort to Me, because I pour all the treasures of My graces into them. I rejoice that they ask for much, because it is My desire to give much, very much. On the other hand, I am sad when souls ask for little, when they narrow their hearts. —Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 1578
Now, we realize that many of you cannot receive the sacraments above because your parishes are closed. However, Fr. Chris Alar, MIC, the director of the Association of Marian Helpers, says these graces are still possible, and here’s how. Do the following on Divine Mercy Sunday with the intention to turn away from sin in your life:
Make an Act of Contrition
Since you are unable to get to Confession, make an Act of Contrition, instead. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states, “Among the penitent’s acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is ‘sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again'” (CCC, 1451).
You can simply pray something like this from the heart:
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good,
I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more,
and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us.
In his name, my God, have mercy. Amen.
You, thereby, will be completely forgiven of all sins, even “mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible” (CCC, 1452).
Make a Spiritual Communion
Since churches are closed and you cannot receive Holy Communion, make a Spiritual Communion instead, asking God to come into your heart as if you received Him sacramentally — Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. For instance, you can pray this:
My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Blessed Sacrament.
I love You above all things and I desire You in my soul.
Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
As though You were already there,
I embrace You and unite myself to You;
permit not that I should ever be separated from You. Amen.
Again, do this act of trust with the intent to return to the sacrament of Holy Communion as soon as possible.
Ask for these “Ocean of graces”
Say a prayer like this:
Lord Jesus Christ, You promised St. Faustina that the soul that has been to Confession [I’m unable, but I made an Act of Contrition] and the soul that receives Holy Communion [I’m unable, but I made a Spiritual Communion] will receive the complete forgiveness of all sins and punishment. Please, Lord Jesus Christ, grant me this grace and all you wish to pour out upon my soul. Amen.
Prayers for the Pope
In conclusion, offer up an Our Father and the Creed for the intentions of the Pope, concluding with a prayer like this: “Merciful Jesus, I trust in You!”… and then thank God with all your heart!
Many might be surprised by what St. John Paul II considered the most important aspect of his pontificate. The Catechism? World Youth Days? The “theology of the body”? Think again… read The Last Hope of Salvation by Mark Mallett at The Now Word.